While traveling to the US for the "Newport Folk Fest", a large, black and friendly customs officer found a #Pot seed in his coat pocket. The officer let him go when he explained he'd swaped for the jacket and supposed the seed belonged to its former owner. On parting company, the officer bragged "I'm the guy who busts "Ray Charles". When he needs busting they call me."
His deep studies into literature and spirituality stood him in good stead, and his personal philosophy joined Celtic spirituality with Oriental religions. He had great things to say in his autobiography about the "Expanded consciousness experienced by those ingesting or smoking the #Holy-Plants".
At the age of 16, he landed in St. Ives where he met his collaborator "Gypsy Dave" and started hanging out with older Beats, smoking joints and making enlightening music. In the early days he says he was "mocked as a simpleton" for singing of birds, bees, and flowers. His early #Green philosophy was taken from the "Hallucinogenic shamanism of the Celts" for whom Mother Earth is a Goddess.
Donovan Philips Leitch / A Boy Called Donovan
"Donovan Philips Leitch" was born on 10 May 1946, in Maryhill, Glasgow, to Donald and Winifred Leitch. Affected by his family's love of folk music, he began playing the guitar at 14. He enrolled in art school but soon dropped out, to live out his beatnik aspirations by going on the road.
He travelled to Manchester with Dave in 1964, then spent the summer in Torquay, where he stayed with "Mac MacLeod" studying the guitar, and learning traditional folk and blues. He is known simply as Donovan, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Coming from the British folk scene, he developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia and world music.
Donovan's love was mostly to #Cannabis, with occasional use of LSD and mescaline. His LSD use is referenced indirectly in many of his lyrics, like "The Trip" and "Sunshine Superman". He also claims he wrote the line "Sky of Blue, and Sea of Green" in the Beatles hit "Yellow Submarine" while hanging out smoking pot with "Paul McCartney".
In mid-1966, Donovan became the first British pop star to be arrested for possession of cannabis. Public notice was drawn to his cannabis use by the TV documentary "A Boy Called Donovan" in early 1966, which showed Donovan and his friends smoking weed at a party thrown by the film crew. His arrest proved to be the first in a long series involving "The Beatles" and "The Rolling Stones".
A Boy Called Donovan / Documentary 1966
By Donovan's account in "The Autobiography of Donovan"; The doc "A Boy Called Donovan" which aired in January 1966 nationwide in Britain, showed his beatnick lifestyle and attracted the interest of the newly formed Drug Squad, who made Donovan, their first arrest.
He'd rented his Edgware Road flat to two young girls who had parties with lots of beatnick characters, while police watched and waited for Donovan to return. After returning home, he claims "I was turning in after a joint with my girlfriend. I had a tiny piece of #Hash and smoked it all."
A knock was heard at the door and when Donovan's roomate Dave asked, "Who is it?" a female voice answered, "It's me." He looked through a curtain and saw a young woman alone. As he opened the door, the policewoman stepped inside, tearing the bedspread and destroying other parts of the house looking for #Weed.
After they found the hash, they were raided the same night Donovan's manager and his wife' home and another huge amount of hashish was found. They were taken to "Marylebone Police Station", booked, fingerprinted and given a cup of tea. When they were left out at 4 AM, Sgt. Pilcher asked for an autograph for his daughter.
"I wanted to turn the world on to self-transformation, not weed", he wrote. But in court, he was admonished as a poor example to youth and fined 250 pounds. To this day, he is labeled a Criminal on US Visas and needs a waiver to enter the US. But the press helped promote his new album, "Sunshine Superman".
The Pop Singer At Marylebone Court
Donovan dropped out of the music business at the end of the 1960s, settling down with his wife and children, he said:
I had accomplished my aim, to help introduce to my generation the Bohemian Manifesto of Change, and the 'Doors of Perception' were now opened for anyone to enter.
In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saying:
I thank you for this bright green laurel resting now upon my brow. I thank you, goddess, and I thank you, muses, and I thank my fellow artists all.
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